Day 28

Trip Start Sep 14, 2006
1
28
169
Trip End ??? ??, 2007


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Thursday, October 12, 2006

On Wednesday morning we were off to the Terracotta Army. It's about away from Xi'an so the 7 of us walked down to the bus station to catch a bus. Xi'an has a city within a city, the most central part (about 15 square kilometres) of Xi'an is walled off. The wall itself is quite attractive and we had to walk around it to get to the station.

Our minibus was 7 yuan each and we paid once the journey was underway. A woman goes around collecting the cash. She got confused with us though, and seemed certain one of us hadn't paid - she just couldn't decide which one. We all knew we'd paid, but she spent the next 30 mins pointing at us randomly and demanding more money. It was a bit stressful since she had the whole bus talking about us in Chinese but it was kind of funny too.

When we got to the Terracotta place we knew that there were three archeological pits to tour, other travellers had recommended we go in this order - Pit 2, Pit 3, Pit 1. Pit 2 is still being excavated, so much of the time you're looking down into the ground with terracotta body parts strewn about the place. It looked a bit like the army had actually fought a proper battle and lost! Pit 3 is where we fist saw the warriors standing. This pit is the control room where the generals were. There were also examples of the warriors that had been put in glass cages for us to look at close up. These ones were very impressive. Walking into Pit 1 is a sight that I'll remember a long time. Dozens of rows of warriors and horses and chariots were lined up in battle formation. At the rear of this hangar (they'd bit airplane hangars to house the pits) the reconstruction work was going on. It looks like a painstaking job, trying to match fragments of terracotta with the right body. Probably the worlds hardest jigsaw puzzle. I don't know how the army got so dismantled - the whole site had been long buried and was only discovered in 1974. Over the ages, some locals had even built their own tombs unknowingly on top of the army.

Each Terracotta warrior is completely unique and it's believed that they were modelled on actual members of the imperial guard. Thousands of workers spent years making this army, and all were killed to protect it's secrecy.

On coming back to Xi'an, we bought our train tickets to Luoyang. I also headed out to the club we'd been to two nights previously with Shane and some Danish girls we'd met in the hostel.
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